Dhaniya (Coriander)

Whether it is the fresh leaves, the aroma of the seeds as I roast them before grinding a fresh lot of the powder,or the older quantity sitting in a bottle on the spice shelf in our kitchen; Indira loves to sniff at coriander in any of it’s forms. It is quite an amusing sight to see her grab the bottle of coriander powder from my hand, after I have finished adding some to a curry or subzi that is cooking right then, and take a long, appreciative sniff at the contents. And she absolutely loves the trip to the vegetable shop from where I buy fresh coriander and mint, since she knows the fragrance will fill the air in the car on the way back !

So I figured this is the spice I should begin this section with.

here is what I have found out (sources below):

Apparently the plant is of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origin; the Romans used it for treating digestive problems;it was even mentioned in the old testament.

The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, cilantro ,dhania , Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley.

There is a host of fascinating stuff here about the history of the use of this spice; I am only listing some of the medicinal benefits mentioned.

Thanks to its to its exceptional phytonutrient content, it seems that coriander can help control blood sugar, cholesterol and free radical production; it is a very good source of dietary fiber, minerals such as iron and magnesium, and a very powerful antibacterial compound. It is  effective against colic and indigestion in both adults and children, and apparently coriander oil can help ease joint pain due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriander

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=70

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120126251/abstract

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/112437530/abstract

http://usa.loccitane.com/FO/Services/GlossaryDetail.aspx?id=33

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/coriander.html

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